By now everyone has seen the video of the Baltimore “hero” mom striking her rioting son repeatedly. They are calling her “Hero Mom”, “Mother of the Year” and saying that if more mothers were like her we wouldn’t have this problem. Here’s why I don’t agree with those statements entirely.
I have felt this kind of desperation and fear. Just yesterday I was told my son was being rude to teachers at his school. I felt that rush of red to my face. You’re afraid your child will grow up to make all the wrong choices, you are afraid for their wellbeing. That is just a part of what being a parent is all about. At the end of the day we’re all just trying to parent as best way as we can. You can see this mom’s fear in her actions, I sympathize with her and I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing. However, I think…
Violence is Never the Answer
That’s a lot pressure for a parent: Saying that if everyone parented with such force would change our society is not fair or accurate. Children are part nature and part nurture. Every child is different. However, it has been proven that spanking as a discipline method makes for more violent and aggressive children. As an exception, however, whatever that child’s upbringing is, every child grows to be something of their choice sometimes spite whatever up bringing they had. Chances are that if you teach a child that violence is the answer that’s what they’ll resort to when feeling cornered and frustrated. This child wants to see change, he feels he is growing up in a society that oppresses him. He felt that the best solution for his problem was violence. I wonder where he got that idea.
Discipline is a very complex thing and it isn’t: We often discipline from a place of desperation, fear and anger. If we’re able to tap into the part of our brain that functions diplomatically we would approach each situation differently. That mom was channeling every ounce of fear into every blow. She wasn’t angry at her child, she was afraid that his choices where going to ultimately mean she’d lose him. My heart hurts for her, but we can’t keep thinking that disciplining from a place of fear and anger will inject peace, love and unity into society. It just doesn’t add up.
When children feel hopeless they lose control and so do we: If we behaved like wise, mature, and emotionally stable human beings so would our children. When I saw the video I was sad for that mom but I was disappointed that everyone thought that was the answer to this mess. She felt hopeless and lost control; so did he. Did no one else see the pattern here?
The only thing that can change the world is LOVE: The hippies had it right, peace and love. Peaceful actions don’t feel powerful, there’s no rush of adrenaline. We rarely see peaceful, loving superheroes on our screens. Brute strength is glorified and less stock is given to people of peace. We have tried violence and it has failed us every single time. Yet places where people make a collective effort to be peaceful make thriving, happy, and successful societies. Since I’ve been back from Europe I hear “There are bad people everywhere.”, “The world is a dark place, and every place has problems.” People feel hopeless, they think that their contribution to change has no impact. Most people have a very pessimistic view of the world. The truth and facts tell an entirely different stories. War and violence is overall on the decline. We are far more peaceful and less tolerant of injustice and violence than we ever were before. There are places in the world where there is no murder, places that don’t believe in violence and they are well and thriving. These places have low poverty indexes, their economies stay stable spite crisis. These places treat people and children like human beings. Even prisoners are treated with compassion and love. What a concept!
What is happening in our country is beyond sad and concerning. All of these situations are tragic but I have hope. I have hope that this uprising is a sign that things are changing and that we are progressing. We can’t make a massive shift in one shot but we can make small changes in our environment to benefit the greater good. Let’s start by removing all violence from our thoughts. Let’s stop thinking that it’s the answer and that we can’t live without it. Let’s hope that we can build a world where things can be solved through communication. Let’s lead by example. Let’s teach our children to be peaceful by treating them with the same respect we would like to be treated. Instead of blows and stern discipline, our children need our time and our love. When I heard my son was being disrespectful my first response was to angrily yell at him. I was wrong in yelling, that solves nothing and teaches less. Next time I’ll try to opt for firm but loving lessons that will give him the tools to appropriately communicate how he’s feeling. I will try to discipline from a place of wisdom and not from a place of fear and anger. Love breeds more love, let’s start at home.
This is violence, nothing more nothing less.